Dead, the Dutch Icarus who plundered France And left her fields the richer for our eyes. Where writhes the cypress under burning skies, Or where proud cornfields broke at his advance, Now burns a beauty fiercer than the dance Of primal blood that stamps at throat and thighs. Pirate of sunlight! and the laden prize Of coloured earth and fruit in summer trance Where is your fever now? and your desire? Withered beneath a sunflower’s mockery, A suicide you sleep with all forgotten. And yet your voice has more than words for me And shall cry on when I am dead and rotten From quenchless canvases of twisted fire
Wheat Field With Cypresses, 1889 by Vincent Van Gogh
Henry Charles Bukowski (1920 – 1994), was a German-American poet, novelist, and short story writer. His writing was influenced by the social, cultural, and economic ambience of his home city of Los Angeles. His work addresses the ordinary lives of poor Americans, the act of writing, alcohol, relationships with women, and the drudgery of work. (Wikipedia)
Bukowski has become something of a cult hero. For some, his life-style, his aphorisms, the spirit imaged in his poetry, have become a way of life. An image of one such itinerant was caught on camera by a Canadian friend on the Pacific coast of British Columbia. This photograph occasioned my verse below . . .
my life I confess in my poetry it is the vagrant life tale of a loafer lowlife laureate being a bummer suited me no carbon copy king of the underground pulp-fiction hero I made the running took to my heels and ran with the wind lusted after life stopped on a whim ate when the food was there or I stood still and hungered took my fill of loving the casual way I didn’t try kept a wandering eye the man who got lucky lay in wait for inspiration caught a glimpse of Paradise nurtured that bluebird in my heart laughed and scorned smoked the weed that thrills loved the life that kills lived it versified it crucified it until it crucified me.
E.E. Cummings ( or ‘e e cummings’) (1894-1962) was an experimental American poet with a distinctive style, but nevertheless very accessible. I previously blogged his poem … maggie and millie and mollie and may Cummings’ poetry often deals with themes of love and nature, as in the following lovely poem . . .
i carry your heart with me
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart) i am never without it (anywhere i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling) i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true) and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
[ Prompted by Davy D’s recent question on the GoDogGo Cafe website, entitled . . . ‘Are You A Poet?’ ]
THE BIRTH OF A POEM
Generated from the furnace Of a fervent mind A poem defines itself As a jewel Precisely cut Precious and lustrous Poised above a ring of gold Encircling thoughts And reflecting In its faceted faces Feelings and emotions Otherwise ill-expressed
The poet The visionary Frames the template Bringing life to contemplation Substance to inspiration A peasant in the fields of the imagination Cultivating conceits Ideas and concepts Labouring at the word-face Crafting thoughts into expressed truths Weaving feelings into reasoned words Bringing all to fruition in The gemstone of creativity
Brian Patten made his name in the 1960s as one of the Liverpool Poets, alongside Adrian Henri and Roger McGough. He has written over fifty poetry books for both Adults and children. Patten’s style is generally lyrical and his subjects are primarily love and relationships, but I have taken this, slight, but amusing poem, from one of his earliest collections of poems for children ‘Thawing Frozen Frogs’.
MARY HAD A BIT OF LAMB
Mary had a little lamb, Its fleece was white as snow, And everywhere that Mary went The lamb was sure to go.
She went into the butcher’s, Came out with some lamb chops. I would never follow Mary Into any kind of shops!
Brian Patten (From: ’Thawing Frozen Frogs’ – Puffin Books, 1992; Illustration by David Mostyn)
STEVIE SMITH was born Florence Margaret Smith in Kingston-upon-Hull in 1902. At the age of three she moved with her parents to Palmers Green in North London where she lived until she died in 1971.
She apparently acquired the name “Stevie” as a young woman when she was riding in the park with a friend who said that she reminded him of the jockey Steve Donoghue.
Perhaps her best known poem is ‘Not Waving But Drowning’. She often accompanied her verses with her own drawings. One such poem which I particularly like is very short but with an amusingly descriptive illustration . . .
Today I am ‘having a go’ at the Etheree poetic form. It is somewhat similar to the Cinquain and the Rictameter, both of which I have tackled previously. The Etheree is a ten line form ascending in syllable count for ten unrhymed lines, and it should focus on a single idea or subject. Thus the syllable count is in the form: 1.2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. This can be altered to give a Reverse Etheree: 10.9.8.7.220.127.116.11.2.1.
The form is attributed to an American poet, Etheree Taylor Armstrong of Arkansas (1918 – 1994). Little seems to be known of her life except the poetic form she devised.
I have attempted both forms below – on the subjects of ‘Idleness’ and ‘Life’ …
IDLENESS – A Reverse Etheree
Today I vow to spend in idleness, to do no more than listen keenly, allow the world to speak to me, while I, in turn, consider which way my life now leads, trying to find peace within my mind that will see my life through.
LIFE – A Regular Etheree
Life, in truth, defeats me. Midst storm and stress I struggle to keep that equilibrium which holds me in its stillness, waiting with some trepidation for that final push to reach the stars where my disquietude will cease to be.
‘Winter at a Cumbrian Farm’ … Pen and Ink – WHB. 2017
(Poem No.31 of my favourite short poems)
A poem by Edward Thomas (1878-1917)
A very short poem, perhaps the shortest of my favourites. Unseasonal as it may be, ‘Thaw’nevertheless merits its place in any list of beautiful short poems, and I do not apologise for including it here, in the middle of a beautiful Spring season. Edward Thomas wrote some of the finest poems of the early twentieth century, many of them composed between 1914 and 1917, that is during the course of World War I. He eventually lost his life at the Battle of Arras, aged only 39, in 1917. He is often thought of as a War Poet, but in fact many of his poems dealt with the beauties and vagaries of the natural world. Perhaps his best known poem, also short, is ‘Adlestrop’. (q.v.). Below I quote the four lines of his poem ‘THAW’ . . .
Over the land freckled with snow half-thawed The speculating rooks at their nests cawed And saw from elm-tops, delicate as flowers of grass, What we below could not see, Winter pass.
William Henry Davies or W. H. Davies (3 July 1871 – 26 September 1940) was a Welsh poet and writer. Davies spent a significant part of his life as a tramp or hobo, in the United Kingdom and the United States of America, but became one of the most popular poets of his time. The principal themes in his work are observations about life’s hardships, the ways in which the human condition is reflected in nature, his own tramping adventures and the various characters he met. (Wikipedia).
Not exactly seasonal perhaps, but today I felt like looking forward to the Spring …
Walking through that door makes the blue a little lighter. She holds space as I gently spill. We sit, we talk - we water, dig and bury. Nurturing a shoot. Aiding it in light - to find its path through thorns - Malan Wilkinson
I am the "little armored one", moving gently through life. Hoping to safeguard my sensitivities with layers of words and the expression of thought. Shielding my mirror neurons at times, or tasting music and spinning till I'm dizzy. Every moment here is a gift.